Jennifer Peng (USGA/Darren Carroll)
Jennifer Peng sure has figured out the stroke-play aspect of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. She is all but assured of earning medalist honors for the second consecutive year. Now comes the really hard part: navigating six rounds of match play to earn the trophy.
Peng fired a 67 on Sunday in Round 2 at 6,086-yard, par-72 Fiddlesticks Country Club (Long Mean Course) in Fort Myers, Fla., for a 36-hole total of 6-under-par 138, one stroke ahead of 2017 champion Kelsey Chugg and three clear of two-time quarterfinalist Katie Miller. Defending champion Blakesly Brock and Krissy Carman, each 1 under, round out the players in red numbers.
Eighteen players were still on the course when play was suspended due to darkness at 7:26 p.m. EDT. Dangerous weather delayed play for 26 minutes starting at 3:17 p.m., after storms delayed Round 1 on Saturday for 2 hours, 40 minutes. The projected cut is at 11-over 155, which would be the lowest in championship history by one stroke.
Peng, 26, of San Diego, Calif. began her day at 1 under and wasted little time getting further into red numbers. Starting on No. 10, she birdied the 11th, 14th and 15th holes, and for the second consecutive day eagled the par-5 18th to turn in 32.
When Peng added birdies at Nos. 4 and 6 to get to 6 under for the day, it looked like she might break her own record for the lowest round in Women’s Mid-Am history – a 66, which she shot last year – but her 3-foot par attempt burned the edge at the par-4 eighth.
Still, Peng’s 67 is the second-lowest round in championship history and her two-round total of 138 is tied for second-best with Julia Potter-Bobb (2019), behind her own 136 from last year at Berkeley Hall Club (North Course), in Bluffton, S.C.
“It would be super exciting,” said Peng, of being the medalist in back-to-back years. “I came in this year looking to improve on my performance – whether medalist or going further in match play. Match play is a very different game, but I love the course and my game is in great shape.”
Chugg, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah, continued her solid play on Sunday. The overnight clubhouse leader bettered her birdie total from Round 1 with five more circles on her scorecard in Round 2. The nine total birdies are tied with Kimberly Dinh for most in the championship.
“That’s typically my game; try and make a bunch of birdies because that’s the most fun way to play,” said Chugg, who has amassed a 13-3 record in match play at the Women’s Mid-Am and finished runner-up in 2018.
After an opening 71 on Saturday, Miller birdied her first and last holes in Round 2 (Nos. 10 and 9), while playing even-par golf in between.
Miller is playing in her 17th USGA championship. She has been a quarterfinalist four times – twice at the Women’s Mid-Am and twice at the Women’s Four-Ball – and was co-medalist at the 2017 Women’s Mid-Am. She was exempt into last year’s championship but used a maternity deferral to secure a spot in this year’s field.
“I have a 10-month-old, so it’s my first time as a mom,” said Miller, 37, whose husband, Devin Gee, is the head golf professional at nine-time U.S. Open host Oakmont (Pa.) C.C. “It takes a village to run a golf tournament, and it takes a village to raise a baby. Thank God I have a freaking army.”
Brock has backed up her championship-winning performance in 2021 with another solid showing thus far. The 26-year-old from Chattanooga, Tenn., closed with a birdie for the second consecutive day and is poised to earn a top-5 seed in match play.
“Moving on to match play gives me a lot of confidence,” said Brock. “I know for a fact that I can win this championship. I’ve done a lot of hard work this summer, so for it to pay off now in a big championship and one that I care about is great news.”
Round 2 of stroke play will resume at 7:30 a.m. EDT on Monday. The low 64 players will qualify for match play, which will begin later Monday morning. If necessary, a playoff to determine the final match-play spots will also take place on Monday morning.
by Mike Trostel, USGA
ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur
The U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur originated in
1987 to provide a national competitive arena
for amateurs 25 and older. Besides the age
restriction, the event is open to those with a
USGA Handicap Index of 9.4 or lower. It is
one of 14 national championships conducted
annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly
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